Apr 20 2017

Nagel, Kate

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Professional Goal Statement

Upon graduation, I hope to become a caring, confident, and knowledgeable physical therapist that will help a variety of patients (both young and old) recuperate from various acute and chronic conditions in an acute care setting.  While I have benefited greatly from physical therapy in outpatient settings, my passion has become assisting those recently recovering from surgeries, injuries, and conditions to start their physical therapy journey in the hospital.  Throughout my DPT education, we were taught the importance of exercise and early mobility following an injury, and I want to extend that knowledge to my patients (especially those that may not want to get out of bed!).  Additionally, my prior work experience in an office setting has peaked my interested in posture related injuries and ergonomics. I hope to further pursue this interest following graduation.  My enthusiasm and passion to help others return to their prior level of function will help me succeed in this awesome profession!

Career Plan

  • May 2007: Graduate from Grove City College with a B.S. in Marketing Management
  • 2007-2014: Employee for the Social Security Administration
  • 2011-2014: Complete Physical Therapy School pre-requisites and shadowing hours
  • August 2014- August 2017: Complete Doctor of Physical Therapy from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
  • July 2017: Take and pass the NPTE exam and acquire my physical therapy license
  • September 2017: Obtain employment as a physical therapy in a hospital setting that has a good mentor program for new graduates
  • 2017-ongoing: Take at least 5-10 CEUs each year to improve my clinical skills and stay up to date on various clinical practices
  • 2019: Become a clinical instructor (CI) for at least one student each year
  • 2027: Sit for additional certification exams, such as the OCS

Self Assessment 


  • Prior professional work experience prior to attending University of North Carolina’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program
  • Excellent organization and time management skills
  • High-quality professionalism and communication skills
  • Two clinical affiliations in hospital settings to acclimate myself to the various patient cases


  • Improve efficiency with research for evidence based practice in order to utilize the most current and effective interventions
  • Increase knowledge and understanding of insurance and billing
  • Improve efficiency with documentation, including more point of service documentation (if possible)

Areas of Interest

  • Acute care physical therapy, specifically orthopedics, cardiac, or neurological patient populations.
  • Postural related injuries and office ergonomics


  • Gain further knowledge of postural injuries and office ergonomics through my Capstone project during the third year to assist other office workers in the Triangle area through educational presentations and/or office ergonomics set ups.
  • Pass the NPTE in July 2017.
  • Following graduation and securing a license around August 2017, gain employment in an acute care facility with a good mentor program for new graduates.

Strategies to Address Developmental Needs and Interests

  • Complete and present my Capstone project on postural dysfunction in office workers to the Allied Health Services department at UNC, Chapel Hill to educate office workers at the University on proper ergonomics in an office setting.
  • Seek out additional continuing education courses on postural dysfunction and office ergonomics.
  • Prepare and study throughout the third year for the July NPTE exam, including creating an attainable study schedule.
  • Network with other acute care physical therapists during my current clinical affiliation at Wake Med to learn more about potential physical therapy positions within the hospital and/or the surrounding hospitals in the Triangle area.


  • Fall 2016:
    • PHYT 875 Advanced Orthopedic Assessment and Intervention (3 credits)
      • This course helped me enhance my anatomy and physiology knowledge while applying that knowledge to various musculoskeletal injuries.  This information carried over into my ICE experience during the Fall semester.
    • PHYT 870 Integrated Clinical Experience- ICE (2 credits)
      • I chose to take 120 hours of ICE to gain as much outpatient orthopedics experience as possible throughout the Fall semester.  This course helped me see two different treatment styles and practice my manual therapy skills.
  • Spring 2017
    • Independent Study: Teaching Assistant for the Modalities Course (PHYT 722)
      • This was a great opportunity to teach the first years about the various modalities utilized for physical therapy interventions (and was also a great review for the Comprehensive and NPTE exams) .  This experience also forced me to get out of my comfort zone, as I have never been a TA for a course before.

Product Examples

Reflective Statement 

In 2011 I decided to go back to school to pursue a career change from a Management Analyst to a Physical Therapist, and it was probably one of the best decisions I ever made.  PT school has proven to have its challenges, but the knowledge and experiences I have gained from being a part of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program have been invaluable.  While I came into the program wanting to concentrate on the orthopedic and sports populations, I am surprised that my passion is now in the acute care setting and more diverse, including neurological and cardiac conditions.  I am glad that this profession allows me to help a variety of people (from the older adult with a recent knee replacement, to the “office athlete” who needs to improve his posture) improve their health and wellness, being passionate about their functional mobility, and getting them back to the activities they enjoy.  The various projects and clinical affiliations that I completed throughout the program have helped shape my physical therapy career, and I am looking forward to continuing my physical therapy education as a lifelong learner with continuing education courses and certifications.  I love that this profession allows me to set new goals for myself and constantly strive to succeed in many areas.  I’m looking forward to attaining employment in an acute care setting following graduation, and working towards networking with offices in the Triangle area to educate “office athletes” on the importance of proper ergonomics.  I couldn’t have accomplished this amazing opportunity without the support of my husband, family, professors, and classmates, and am proud to be part of such an amazing program and profession.  I have always been a fan of UNC, and I am proud to say that I am a Tar Heel.

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